5 Pre-Workout Nutrition Tips You Must Know
Posted on November 13 2018
Most bodybuilders and athletes seem to be aware of the importance of post-workout nutrition and the famed "post-workout anabolic window." While there is no doubt that post-workout nutrition is critical to muscle building, many people overlook the fact that pre-workout nutrition is equally important.
If your aim is just weight loss and you don’t mind sacrificing muscle tissue to look thinner, then working out on an empty stomach might be helpful. But if you want to make your body efficient at burning fat while building big, strong muscle, then you have to eat before working out.
1. Fuel Sources for Working Out
The food you eat is the primary fuel for your body. When you workout on an empty stomach, the body first uses up stored glycogen in the muscles. Once this easily accessed fuel is depleted, the body then turns to burn its next closest source of available energy, namely your hard-earned muscles.
Another negative impact of working out on an empty stomach is that your energy levels tend to be low, so the intensity of your workout suffers. To build muscle, you need the energy to push the workout to a point where your muscle fibers break down from the intensity of your workout. The body then builds back bigger and stronger muscle fibers. In order to have the strength and energy for a stellar performance in the gym, you must fuel yourself well before a workout. But this doesn’t mean stuffing yourself with an all-you-can-eat buffet. The quality, quantity, and timing of these meals are very important.
2. The Timing of Your Pre-Workout Meal
Eating a heavy meal right before your workout is going to leave you feeling full and sluggish. Yet, you do need to eat complete meals containing carbs, protein, and fats to maximize the results of your training. So timing your meal right is very important.
Try to eat a full meal with a balance of carbs, protein and fats, at least 2 or even 3 hours before your training. But you may not always be able to do so. As you get closer to the time of your workout, you need to make the meals smaller and simpler. If for whatever reason, you are able to eat only an hour before working out, have a small meal consisting of just some carbs and protein that are easily digestible. This will give you the energy you need without having to suffer the discomforts of working out on a full stomach.
3. The Two-phase Meal Plan for Optimizing Muscle Gain
Rather than focusing on a single meal to get in all your pre-workout nutrition, a two-phase meal plan can be more effective in ensuring effective workouts and muscle gains. The first phase involves having a proper meal one to three hours before working out. How much earlier you should eat actually depends on your metabolism.
The second phase involves a quick and easily digestible meal just half an hour or even 10 minutes before the workout. Protein shakes along with other supplements are the best choice for this. Read the following tips to learn what exactly to eat during these two phases.
4. Moderate To Slow-Digesting Carbohydrates During Phase One
Most bodybuilders understand the importance of having protein in their meals. But in a world that is suddenly at war with carbs, it's not surprising that many of them are totally confused about their carb intake. But if muscle building is your target then carbs are a must in your diet.
It's also important to understand that all carbs are not created equal.
Quick digesting carbs with simple sugars (high glycemic index foods) will give you an energy burst, but they burn up quickly leaving you feeling more lethargic than before. Moderate to low GI foods with the same caloric value burn slowly and will sustain you throughout your workout. But consuming such foods too close to your workout time is not advisable as the body will not have sufficient time to metabolize the carbs to release the energy needed.